VSCO

There’s a ton of photo apps out there. I’ve tried plenty of them. Some I like. Some I delete. VSCO is one I like. It’s not as trendy as Instagram for sharing. It’s not as good as a whole number of apps for actually taking the photo. It’s not much good unless you pay up for at least a few packs of filters. It’s a bit confusing to use. It won’t crop to my Continue reading “VSCO”

Astrogram

Mashable published a set of photos from the 1969 moon landings, worked through Instagram filters. You really should check them out. I’ve posted just a taster of four of the twelve images.

A couple of thoughts sprang to mind. Firstly, what a cool idea! I might find a few old photos and give them the Instagram treatment myself. My initial thought was of Kennedy photos. It’ll be 50 years since Dallas in just a few months. But then I thought, heck the Abraham Zapruder film already looks like an Instagram job! Heck, the camera maker should sue…

Secondly, how cool would a 21st century moon (or Mars) landing be with modern camera technology. The shots we get of Mars from the rovers there is mind blowing. Adding a human touch to it would be fantastic. The astronauts could still send some back via Instagram. Course, they would be Astrograms. Unless the photographer was a Russian, in which case they’d be Cosmograms.

Instagram Video Embedding

Instagram is embracing the desktop. Which is a great move. A very smart move, in fact. Whilst sharing with friends can be a mobile only pursuit, we all want our videos to get a bit more exposure. Instagram proved itself a couple of years ago with Hurricane Sandy, when photos taken by users ended up in print and on major digital publishers.

That sort of content is still produced on desktops, so anything that makes it easier to share photos and videos across multiple platforms is a good thing. It’s a good thing for me too. My blogs are produced solely on a laptop, and the ability to grab my Instagram videos and publish them with a simple piece of provided code is great. Not that I have many videos on Instagram. Just a couple. But now I have the motivation to shoot more.

The one below features a Lifeguard helicopter coming to rescue an idiot on a Bournemouth beach who though it’d be a good idea to dive head first into a couple of inches of water.

Dear Instagram

I’ve gotten over my tantrum from the User Agreement changes. I’ll live with the terms. So I’m using Instagram more often again. I’ve even added my account to my blog in a tab. But I have a new complaint. I don’t want to close off my photo to just my contacts. I prefer to make them publicly available. But I do get sick of the likes and comments from the multitude of spammers who’ve jumped to Instagram to spread their crap.

Can we have some better tools to keep the spammers out please? There’s a multitude of ways to do this. For example, you can implement a button that users can activate to allow comments and likes only from people who have a certain number of photos uploaded and who have not had a certain number of comments marked as spam in a certain period of time. Or implement a Moderate feature, as WordPress do. So new commenters/likers are held awaiting approval before their comments go live. Please sort it.

Instabuck

I’ve posted a few times about how much I love Instagram. You can see all my snaps on the (recently released) Instagram profile page. Unless you’re not one of my ‘followers’. In which case you can’t. I set my account to private, to combat spam. But all is not lost. I’ve long been sending all my Instagram shots to a Tumblr page. Instagram is a great service. And I won’t be using it any more. Indeed, I may well have deleted my account come January 16th. Assuming the Mayan Apocalypse doesn’t delete it for me in a few days time. Why? The new TOS, which have been getting press here, here and here. In fact, this has been getting press everywhere today. And not good press.

I usually go with the flow over these sorts of things. And I’m pretty easy going with the use of my photos. Sharing is caring. All my photos on Flickr are Creative Common licensed. With the exception of commercial use. But it seems that that is exactly what Instagram wants to do with my photos. Sell them, and pocket the cash. All of it.

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

The section before this entry contains a section stating, ‘…except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service’s Privacy Policy…’ . On the service? Does that mean I can’t control who can see my content if it is used outside of the service? Given that they have already stated they can use a photo (perhaps of myself or a family member) of mine, with the meta data (the GPS co-ordinates of my home?) along with my user name (which is my name), even if I have made the photo ‘private’, then I’m not sure they have a privacy policy.

There are a couple of caveats to this. Firstly, my interpretation could be wrong. Secondly, the TOS may be changed in response to the criticism the company is receiving. There is uproar. How many riots does Instagram want to be at the centre of? I wouldn’t be surprised if it is changed. Could it have been an accident? Facebook own Instagram. I’m sure their lawyers would have been involved. And they’ve been down this road enough times to know better.

This is sad stuff. That such a great photo sharing site should shoot itself in the foot so spectacularly. I’m minded to think that if these terms upset me, then they’ve screwed up big time. Like I’ve said, in this post and many posts before this, I’m really easy going about how my photography is used. Don’t we all dream of shooting a momentous shot? One that captures widespread attention? It happens to plenty of people. So how can Instagram fix it? Well, they could tear those TOS up and start again, and use some common sense this time. But I get the service has to earn money. If they feel this is the only route, then perhaps they should also offer a premium paid for service for those who want to opt out.

They’ve done this at a bad time in other ways. Flickr have just released a new app of their own, and it is freaking fantastic. Yahoo have been investing in Flickr lately, and it’s paying off. And their terms are wholly more acceptable. They won’t use your image without your consent. Full stop. I’m seriously bummed that the app is iPhone only. It’s the first time in my nearly two years as an Android Guy that I’ve wanted an iPhone. I’m sure it’ll get to my Galaxy S2 before too long though. But, for now, I’m stopping uploading to Instagram. I’m not going to invest time into a service that I might be about to ditch. I’d rather use Facebook, if I have to. Ironic, I know – but Facebook TOS appear to be a little more friendly.

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Photo of the Month 8

It has been tough going this month. Taking a photo a day is easy. Uploading them to my 365 has not been so easy. I’ve just had to update about three weeks of snaps. I think I got them all in the right order, but one can’t be 100% sure. Nevermind.

Anyway, it’s time to wheel out my virtual ballot box again. There are the six photos below. Cast your vote for your favourites. You can vote for two of them. That makes the total number of votes tally look doubly impressive. Or only half as embarrassing, depending on how you look at it.

InstaLondon

The best camera you own, is the one you have with you. Old saying, but still true. I have my cell phone with me at all times. And I’ve enjoyed taking photos with it. The images aren’t bad. Not proper camera quality, but what do you expect? Instragram changes everything though. I’ve never had so much fun with a camera app. It makes photography fast, fun, funky. I love it.

I often use Pixlr O Matic to add extra filters to my Instagram snaps. The two apps make buying an iPhone or Android device worth the expense all by themselves. On my latest trip to London, I couldn’t even be bothered to take my Olympus out the bag most of the time.  If you’re on Instagram, look me up and add me – garydenness.

If you’re not on Instagram, then all is not lost, despite Instagram being rather locked in to mobile devices. I’ve been looking for a purpose for my Tumblr blog for years and years, and have finally found it. Instagram will post to a Tumblr blog (or Facebook, Twitter and something else) whilst uploading the photo. So I found myself a nice photo oriented Tumblr theme, and….hey presto!

Instagram for Android

I’ve had my Galaxy S2 almost a year, and I’ve been through my fair share of photo apps. Some get used a while, then junked. Because they don’t do enough to warrant taking up bits and bytes that could be better utilized. Some get junked after two minutes. Because they’re junk. A few special apps get to take their place on my main Photo App screen.

But there’s been one app missing. To date, Instagram has been iPhone only. Until today. Now Instagram is on Android too, and I set about taking a few snaps to test it out. It’s not bad. Very nice, in fact. It’s joined the other special apps on my Photo App screen. You can see the photos on Flickr or Google.

What are the other apps I cherish? I mentioned Pixlr-o-matic recently. For sheer variation of filters and frames, it’s still the best. But it doesn’t take photos ‘in app’. You have to select another photo app to actually capture the image. For that I usually use Camera 360. It’s the easiest, quickest and most reliable every day all purpose camera app on Android, in my opinion. It also has a decent range of filters.

If I want a really lavish range of filters with the ability to take a shot within the app itself? Little  Photo is a clear winner. It’s only downside is that the navigation between filters is a little weak. For macro shots, and images where I’m looking for the highest quality possible, then I go straight to Vignette. For simplicity, and again with a half decent range of filters, Flickr‘s mobile app also works well. And, of course, it’s a good app for viewing my Flickr photo collection.

Where does Instagram fit into my mobile photographic life? It wins on being dead easily and intuitive to use. It has the nicest interface of them all. The filters are extensive enough to not become quickly boring. Not so extensive that they become confusing. It’s got nice additional features to share and view the results. It also gives the option to import photos from the gallery which were taken with other camera apps. The only downside is the lack of flexibility in image size. But it’s an easy to live with downside.